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Grandparenting Path

Licensing Requirements during Grandparenting Period

Grandparenting was open to unlicensed counselors, counselors licensed in other states and currently licensed LMFTs and LCSWs in California.  Unlicensed counselors need two years post-master’s counseling experience* to qualify for grandparenting.

Grandparenting period:  Applicants must submit their application packet by December 31, 2011. If there are deficiencies, the applicant will have 12 months from the date of notification from the BBS to complete requirements.  Requirements that may be completed during this 12-month period may include *deficiencies in the years of experience, supervised hours, coursework and examinations.

Education: A master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution, which is counseling or psychotherapy in content, includes 6 semester-units or 9 quarter-units of supervised practicum or fieldwork study, (See exception for pre-1996 degrees below) and contains at least 3 semester-units, or four and one half quarter-units, of coursework in the following 9 core content areas.  More than one course may be used to fulfill a core content area.

Note:  Supervised practicum or fieldwork study cannot be added to the degree.  All 9 core content areas must be completed before education can be approved, although some can be added post-degree, as follows: Degrees issued Jan 1, 1996 and after shall include a minimum of 48 semester-units and 7 of the 9 core content areas and six semester-units or nine quarter-units of supervised practicum or field study experience.  All 9 core content areas must be completed before education can be approved.  University courses may be taken through extension if units are awarded.

 Degrees issued prior to Jan 1, 1996 shall include a minimum of 30 semester units and include 6 of the 9 core content areas and three semester-units or four and one half quarter-units of supervised practicum or field study experience. All 9 core content areas must be completed before education can be approved.  University courses may be taken through extension if units are awarded.

Counselor Educators, whose degrees contain at least 7 of the 9 required core areas may be given credit for coursework not contained in the degree, if the counselor educator provides documentation that he or she has taught the core course in a graduate counseling program.  This only applies to the core content areas and does not apply to the additional coursework topics. 

Out-of-State Degrees:  Those with degrees from out-of-state must submit syllabi for the following nine core content courses.  If the applicant has attempted and failed to obtain syllabi from the university, course descriptions from the university catalog may be submitted.  The Board will make the final determination on whether the course description is acceptable. Those with degrees issued in 2001 or later from a CACREP-accredited program do not need to submit syllabi, except for the diagnosis course, since that course was not required in earlier years.  The university must complete the Degree Program Certification form found in the application.

Note:  Counselors with degrees from other states, who take the Traditional Path, may be able to make up more courses than the above descriptions specify.

Required core content areas:
  • (A) Counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques (includes counseling theories, selection of counseling interventions, orientation to wellness and prevention, etc.)
  • (B) Human growth and development across the lifespan (includes psychopathology, normal and abnormal behavior, developmental crises)
  • (C) Career development theories and techniques
  • (D) Group counseling theories and techniques
  • (E) Assessment, appraisal and testing
  • (F) Multicultural counseling theories and techniques
  • (G) Principles of diagnosis, treatment planning and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior
  • (H) Research and evaluation
  • (I) Professional orientation, ethics and law in counseling

View Core Content Areas.

Additional Coursework:  In addition to, or as part of the graduate degree, instruction in each the following subjects must be completed prior to licensure:

Note: With the exception of the course in psychopharmacology, which is a university graduate or undergraduate credit course, the following requirements can be fulfilled with graduate or undergraduate university courses, online courses, home study courses or  continuing education courses offered by BBS approved providers. See Providers of Coursework on this website for available courses. Contact hours are clock hours or hours of instruction offered as continuing education.

  • (1) Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in alcoholism and other chemical substance dependency
  • (2) Minimum of 10 contact hours of instruction in human sexuality
  • (3) Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in spousal or partner abuse
  • (4) Minimum of seven contact hours of instruction in child abuse assessment & reporting
  • (5) Minimum of 18 contact hours of instruction in California law and professional ethics, if not included in required core content area
  • (6) Minimum of 10 contact hours of instruction in aging and long-term care
  • (7) Minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in crisis/trauma counseling
  • Note: Unlike the above courses, which may be taken as continuing education credit, the following course may be taken post-degree, but it must be a graduate or undergraduate university credit course.  It may be taken through university extension if units are awarded.
  • (8)  A two-semester-unit survey course or a three-quarter-unit survey course in psycho pharmacology

Supervision: Two years full-time or the equivalent, post-degree counseling experience, that includes 1,700 hours of experience in a clinical setting supervised by a licensed professional clinical counselor, a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed psychologist, a licensed physician and surgeon specializing in psychiatry, or a master’s level counselor or therapist who is certified by a national certifying or registering organization, including, but not limited to, the National Board for Certified Counselors or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Note:  Counselors who have not been supervised may earn the 1,700 complete any additional hours needed in the 12 months allowed for completion of deficiencies.  The BBS will not oversee supervision for grandparenting, but the Experience Verification form for the supervisor to sign is included in the LPCC grandparenting application packet.  See  Questions About Supervision for Grandparenting in Frequently Asked Questions for further detail here.

Examination:  Passing scores on the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination CRCE), and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) are required for grandparenting. View Exams for Grandparenting to see information on the national exams.  The BBS will send the registration form(s) for the NCE, the NCMHCE and the California Law and Ethics examination after counselors have applied for licensure. Counselors will have 12 months from the date of that letter to complete any exams they have not already passed. Counselors using the CRCE must contact the CRCC directly.

Currently licensed MFTs and LCSWs in the State of California can be grandparented as LPCCs through grandparenting application 1 A, if their degrees contain the required number of units and the required core content areas, as listed in the above education requirements.  They do not have to document the above additional continuing education requirements, since these courses have been required for their license renewal over the past few years.  They have already met the supervision requirement.

The BBS Board has determined that MFTs and LCSWs will need to pass an examination on the differences between the practices of their professions and the practice of professional clinical counseling, in order to be grandparented as a LPCC.  These differences appear to be in the areas of research, appraisal/testing, and career development.  These “gap” exams will be administered by the BBS.

MFT Interns and ASWs, who are not licensed by the December 31, 2011 grandparenting deadline, but will have two years post-degree counseling experience by the end of the 12-month period allowed to make up deficiencies, were allowed to apply through grandparenting path 1 B, as unlicensed counselors, using 1,700 post-degree supervised hours and taking the LPCC national exams and the LPCC Law & Ethics Exam.  These interns could have continued with their internships and end up with two licenses.

MFTs and LCSWs should contact their professional organizations if they have further questions. View section 4999.54 in the bill, regarding grandparenting.

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